Continuing the legacy of the blues

Darian Graivshark
Group photo of John Lee Hooker, Brownie McGee, Noel and Kenny Neal, Sonny Terry, Larry and Ray Neal.

It's almost the weekend, so let's enjoy it by turning on those down-home blues tunes.

For the last 14 years, Larry Neal has called Ascension Parish home. He works for the Parish as a government employee and does carpentry and painting. This is something he enjoys doing because it helps the community. Not only is he a handyman, but he is a blues musician too.

Son of the late great legendary blues icon Raful Neal, Larry Neal has been continuing his father's legacy in blues.

"My father made us pick an instrument to play when my siblings and I were younger. I picked the harmonica. I can sing and play the drums too," Larry said.

Larry grew up in a home with ten siblings. Seven were brothers and three were sisters. Many of them travel internationally for music now while Larry plays locally. Due to the talent that exists in their family, Larry was inspired to form The Neal Brothers' Blues Band in the 1980's.

The Neal Brothers performed alongside famous blues artists like Lazy Lester, Muddy Waters, and James Cotton. These are only a few artists out a many they've had the opportunity to play with.

However, Larry was ready to enjoy the family life. "I moved to Baton Rouge in 1995 because I was ready to start a family after seeing many different cultures and touring so much," he said.

Larry's siblings still travel internationally for music, but Larry has had his fair share. In 1991 and 2005, Larry was touring in Europe for his music. Since Larry moved and settled into his new home, he's been playing locally in cities in like New Orleans and Lafayette. However, he will be playing in Jackson, Mississippi in September at the B.B. King Symposium.

"I had family friends help with organizing the event at B.B. King, and I'm excited for it," Larry said.

Blues music is something Larry holds close to his heart.

"The music has been a part of my life, especially because my father was a musician. It's a tradition not only for me, but for my siblings too."

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